Saturday January 31, 2015
May 26th, 2014
Memorial Day is a peculiarly appropriate holiday for our times. Its origins lie in the Civil War, which resulted from the failure of a deeply polarized political system to settle the question of slavery.
When Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., remarked last week that some of the opposition to President Obama's Affordable Care Act is "maybe he's of the wrong color," he was just saying out loud what many people believe. And no, he wasn't calling Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., a "racist."
What's happening in the Republican primaries is less a defeat for the tea party than a surrender by the GOP establishment, which is winning key races by accepting the tea party's radical anti-government philosophy.
I knew before arriving that Netflix's "House of Cards" was an unexpected hit here. Still, it took the ripped-from-the-airwaves coincidence of five members of the Chinese military indicted on charges of cyber espionage to grasp more fully the allure of this American political drama for Chinese citizens and leaders alike.
A plague of heroin addiction is upon us. Another plague. Heroin was the crisis that prompted Richard Nixon to launch the war on drugs in 1971.
Time marched on. Cocaine and then crack cocaine and then methamphetamine overtook heroin as the drugs of the moment. Now heroin is back -- and badder than ever.
Here's a novel idea. Since president of the United States is not only the most important job in this country, but also the most powerful on the planet, doesn't it make sense to require an IQ test before anybody can run for that office? Of course, it does. And Marco Rubio should be the first.
Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a Mayberry-like prescription for combating poverty in this country: all it takes is more friendship and traditional marriage.
Ryan said: "The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned helplessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love."
By any normal standard, economic policy since the onset of the financial crisis has been a dismal failure. It's true that we avoided a full replay of the Great Depression. But employment has taken more than six years to claw its way back to pre-crisis levels - years when we should have been adding millions of jobs just to keep up with a rising population. Long-term unemployment is still almost three times as high as it was in 2007; young people, often burdened by college debt, face a highly uncertain future.
Reince Priebus made a joke on Sunday.
I don't know that he meant to - comedy isn't his forte - but the only way to hear one of his comments on "Meet the Press" was as a put-on. He said that Hillary Clinton wouldn't run for the presidency if "she has another month like she just had," with questions about Monica, about Benghazi, about Boko Haram, about her brain.
The more I read the news, the more it looks to me that four words are becoming obsolete and destined to be dropped from our vocabulary. And those words are "privacy," "local," "average" and "later." A lot of what drives today's news derives from the fact that privacy is over, local is over, average is over and later is over.